Unthreading the Webby Awards

We take a dive into the best of the web and pick some of our personal favourites.

by Mark Tungate , Adforum

With myriad categories and multiple winners, the Webby Awards – which were held online last month – can be difficult to untangle if you’re looking for trends. But we found a handful of winners that are both inspiring and uplifting, two things we all need right now.

In the Websites category, we fell hard for National Geographic’s beautiful Atlas Of Moons, which won for Best Use of Animation or Motion Graphics. The pitch is that our solar system contains more than 200 moons – and the site lets users take a tour of them, in stunning detail and with plenty of facts along the way
View the website here

In the Video category we were transported by “The Lonely Palm Tree”, from Zara Creative, which took us all the way to Samoa to meet a young sportsman and a symbolic tree. It’s beautifully shot – on an iPhone, no less – and immerses you in the atmosphere of the island. It won in the Travel & Adventure category.


In the Advertising, Media & PR category we were drawn to the Best Copywriting winner, from Squarespace, which features Idris Elba in a comic turn. It’s always pleasant to see actors making fun of themselves, although Elba has the perfect foil in this amusing skit.


Returning to a more serious but no less entertaining winner, in the Apps, Mobile and Voice category our pick is London Art Studies site. Imagine free art history classes accessible from your phone. Free videos feature historians detailing the backstories of iconic artworks – check out the one about Robert Indiana’s “Love” sculpture for a terrific example.


The Social category was predictably huge – so what to choose? Fortunately we came across the interesting campaign “Losing Lena”, which won the Diversity & Inclusion prize. So who is Lena? In the 1970s, when a bunch of tech guys were figuring out how to transform physical photos into digital ones, they tested their algorithms on a nude Playboy centrefold: Lena. The trouble is, she’s still being used for tests today, putting sexist imagery right at the heart of the tech industry. The campaign film explains the rest – and there’s a neat twist at the end.


Last but not least, the Webbys granted a number of Special Achievement awards, notably to The Swab Squad, a group of doctors and nurses at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, who were not only on the front line helping the sick, but also raised spirits online with their quirky Instagram @tjuh_pool. One particular dance routine even got the attention of revered chat show host Ellen.

We honestly tried to get through this entire feature without mentioning the pandemic – but there was no ignoring the heroes of the hour.